As nice as it can be to take time off for winter break, returning to the classroom can be challenging for kindergarten students. In this post, I’m going to share an effective classroom management strategy that you can use during the winter months. These tips and ideas will help you get your class back on track after the holiday break.
Winter Classroom Management Challenges
Winter in the kindergarten classroom can pose quite a few unique challenges when it comes to classroom management.
The first is the inevitable engagement slump that happens after the holiday season. This happens even if you aren’t able to celebrate holidays in your classroom! Students get used to all of the seasonal “extras” from December like spirit weeks, the anticipation of an upcoming break, and so on. As a result, January doesn’t seem to have the same touch of excitement. This can make it difficult to motivate and engage your students!
Winter Weather Wiggles
The weather of the winter months can also make classroom management challenging! Your students might eagerly watch the snow falling outside the window when they’re supposed to be working. Frequent indoor recess might leave your students with an excess of unspent energy. No matter what the weather brings to your neck of the woods, you’ll likely find that your class might be a bit more wiggly during the winter months.
Finally, you might find that your students aren’t as patient with each other during the winter months. As the school year continues, it’s not surprising that students start to wear on each others’ nerves more easily. Your class might have a spike in arguing or tattling.
Classroom Management Strategy for Winter
With all of the challenges that winter can bring to the kindergarten classroom, it can be a great time to introduce a seasonal reward system. This classroom management strategy will help you and your students get through the winter months more smoothly. Here’s how it works:
Step One: Print and Prep
The first step is to print and prep the pieces of the reward system. This whole-group incentive is a build-a-snowman reward. There will be various pieces of a snowman to laminate and cut out.
Once you have all of the pieces, find a place to display it! Consistency will be key with this classroom management system, so be sure to have it displayed in a visible place where you won’t forget to use it!
Step Two: Choose a Behavior Goal
The next step is to identify the priority behavior that you’d like to target with the reward system. Choose something that the majority of your class is having trouble with during the winter months. For example, waiting their turn to speak at carpet time or walking quietly in the hallway.
By choosing one goal, it’s easy for the students to know what’s expected of them. You can discuss this goal with your students so they understand what it means to exhibit that behavior.
Step Three: Choose a Reward
The next step is to choose an appropriate reward for the class to work toward. Choose something that is easy to implement as soon as possible after the students have earned it. If the class completes the chart on Monday, it’s less motivating if they have to wait until Friday for their reward.
Rewards don’t have to be expensive or complicated! Choose something that makes sense for the rules of your classroom. If you have a strict “no food in the classroom” rule, don’t feel like you need to have a treat for your whole-class reward!
Step Four: Recognize and Reward
Once you have everything ready to go, it’s time to recognize your class when they exhibit the target behavior. You don’t need to wait for your entire class to exhibit the behavior all at once. This can impact student buy-in and even invite students to deliberately sabotage the whole-class incentive for attention.
Instead, look for individual students who are doing a great job with the target behavior. Tell the class that you have noticed a student who has earned a piece of the reward for the class. It’s also helpful to explain specifically what the student has done to earn that piece of the reward. For example, if your goal is to walk quietly in the hallway, you might recognize Sally for keeping her eyes forward and mouth quiet even when the students around her are talking.
Step Five: Repeat!
Once your students have built the snowman and earned their reward, it’s time to reset the chart! You can switch out different pieces to keep it visually interesting for your students. You can also adjust the number of pieces needed to build the snowman based on things like your schedule, student motivation, or the difficulty of the goal.
That’s all it takes to help battle those winter classroom management challenges I mentioned above:
- The cute snowman brings some seasonal novelty to the classroom.
- The reward system allows you to target specific behaviors that are challenging your classroom management during the winter months.
- The whole-group incentive can encourage teamwork and classroom community as you try to cut down on some of that classmate conflict that’s so common in the winter months.
Printable Classroom Reward System for Winter
Would you like to try this classroom management strategy in your classroom this winter? I have put together a printable build-a-snowman reward system that you can use to help your students stay on track during the winter months. It has all of the snowman pieces and visual supports that you need to set up this whole group incentive. Just click below to find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on TPT.
Save This Winter Classroom Management Strategy
Be sure to save this post if you’d like to come back to it later! Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly and easily find this post when you’re looking for a simple classroom management strategy to get you through the winter months.